LifeisXbox’s Evil West review | When it comes to Western games I am all for it. Frequent readers of our Eyes on the Week segment will know I play a lot of Hunt Showdown. Evil West caught my eye for many reasons, but what we have here is essentially a game if Devil May Cry had a baby with God of War. Both of the aforementioned games are in my top 10 list so playing a game that fuses both of these together must be a recipe for success right? Evil West is a frantic brawler, shooter, RPG, and horror game with a solid and well-told story that I think most people will get on board with. Vampires have been a staple in our story-telling for many years, and I feel Evil West has brought new life into the category.
Evil West is created by Flying Wild Hog and published by Focus Entertainment.
Most Memorable Moment
Honestly, the intro to the game was really memorable for me. The game starts with a huge set piece that I won’t ruin, but if you were thinking it would slowly ramp up the action it doesn’t. It starts at 10 and I was all for it. I really like how the opening ties much of the later story together with a certain character being Jesse’s guide and hope for putting an end to the vampiric plague.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- The Mechanics | Evil West has some decent mechanics under its heavy belt of ammo. The main mechanics here all have to do with demon slaying. Jesse is equipped with your standard-issue gauntlet that allows him to beat the living hell out of the Vampire hoard that plagues the world you inhabit. You also have access to a 6-shot revolver, a repeating rifle, a flamethrower, dynamite, a crossbow, a Gatling gun, a Shotgun, and a Cross! The entire arsenal is released as the game progresses which helps with the game’s pacing. It felt really well managed so that the game always allows you to master one aspect of it before releasing the rest upon you. The opening of the game has you focusing purely on melee combat. You attack using the right bumper and release a flurry of punches, but holding down or up on the analog stick allows you to cannonball the enemy into environmental set pieces such as explosive barrels or spiked walls for extra damage. As the game progresses you unlock new weapons which can be equipped using the D-Pad and fired using the right trigger and left trigger.
- The Story | Jesse Rentier, one of the last agents of a clandestine vampire-hunting organization, must protect the American frontier from supernatural monstrosities. The Rentier Institute is a secret organization dedicated to battling supernatural creatures such as the Sanguisuge, vampires that prey on humanity. Working together with retired agent Edgar Gravenor, Jesse follows the trail of Peter D’Abano, a high-ranking vampire that advocates for declaring war on humanity before their technology develops to the point where it will become a threat to the Sanguisuge. The story here is engaging enough that I genuinely wanted to watch all of the cut scenes and was interested in all of the lore that you can find in the game when running around the levels.
- The Music & Audio | The audio is a strong point in Evil West. There is a decent amount of tracks all varying in tone but the battle music is where it really kicks off. The fighting along with the music goes well together. What I also liked was how the music starts to fade out the more damage you take getting to the point where it sounds like you are submerged underwater. It’s a great way of letting the player know you are low on health since your eyes will constantly be scanning the area for enemies as they barrage you. Punches sound gritty and effective, gunshots pop and electricity cracks in all the right places making the game feel really visceral in places where it needs it.
- Multiplayer | Evil West has co-op! Only a handful of Action RPGs offer Multiplayer modes, to begin with, Evil West allows you to play the entire game in true co-op fashion with up to 2 players in a session. So you can play the game with a friend or anyone you have added to your platform. It’s really refreshing to see this added as lately I have felt many games lack multiplayer functionality despite feeling like the game would benefit from it. During my time reviewing Evil West, I played several sessions online with friends and all were great, stable, and fun.
- Upgrades | During the course of your time with Evil West you will collect bucks, which you can use to upgrade your weapons. All aspects of Jesse’s arsenal can be upgraded. Additional shots, additional damage, along with new abilities in general can all be acquired through the upgrade screen. Personally, I focused more on the gauntlet upgrades since a lot of Jesse’s power comes from here. I really enjoy the finish moves that you can carry out on each of the enemies. Ripping vampires apart, sticking shotguns in their mouths, and just turning them into big puddles of pulp with immensely satisfying after a difficult battle. Throughout the game you will also gain access to the electrical component of the Gauntlet and your guns, adding electrical damage to the mix which can cause staggering allowing you to do powerful beatdowns on your foes. You can reset your perks at story arch moments using electrical conduits if you want to redo your character. You can also find these in the field during the levels. One final point to note is you can also unlock skins for your weapons and character and equip them through the perks screen. I ended up fully kitting out my character and all of the weapons with the ghost skin, a rather nice all-black ensemble.
- The Graphics | Graphically I think Flying Wild Hog has done a decent job with how Evil West looks. Having this set up on my Series X with my 4K TV, was something special. The colours throughout the levels really pop and the art direction really blends well. The snowy levels are all filled with white and the lighting matches well. Forest fires and building fires have a nice dark orange tone throughout the whole level and the mood is just perfect. Characters and enemies, (even supporting characters) stand out really well. The effects in Evil West are what stood out most to me. The main character Jesse has electricity circulating his gauntlet for most of the game, and later throughout the guns as mentioned above. When firing these you get a satisfying burst of energy that lights up the enemy skeleton. It all makes sense and looks incredible.
- Enemies | The sheer amount of enemy types impressed me to the point where I genuinely believe I don’t think I’ve seen this many enemy variants in a single game before. We have generic zombie-type enemies, Lycan humans that transform in real-time into werewolves, Vampires, Vampires with huge wing spans, flying spitters, I could go on, trust me. A lot of the quirks of the combat come with how the game pairs enemy types together. Lycan and Vampires prove a decent fight, and when you think it’s all over, a huge flying vampire will enter and completely change the dynamics of the fight. Go too aggressive and you will surely die, be too reserved and they will gang up on you quickly. There are certain enemies that will also offer protective shields to other enemies making them invincible until you take out their source of shield first. Now and then enemies will reveal their weak spots allowing you to pop off a shot and deal some serious damage. If you don’t get these shots off in time, they will perform a special move that can also affect the rest of the enemies on screen. For example, a Lycan will release a howl that supercharges the rest of the Lycans increasing their damage and making them more aggressive. It’s a really clever way of adding more layers to the enemies and also forcing your method of combat to change.
- Bugs | Despite the game actually having a setting in which you can turn off the bugs in-game, I am referring to the fairly large amount of bugs that I encountered during my playthrough. Enemies getting stuck in walls, the player character t-posing when in-game cutscenes play along with sound bugs. Nothing is game-breaking though and I was always able to progress and had no issues besides these.
What we Disliked
- Nothing | There was nothing I disliked about Evil West.
How long to beat the story | 10 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 18 hours
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.